Located on the banks of the Charente River between Saintes and Saint-Jean-d’Angély, the village of Saint-Savinien boasts numerous attractions that will delight the whole family. A stroll in the Petite Cité de Caractère®, a tour of artists’ workshops or a trip on a miniature boat – all offer the chance to get away from it all in a way you’ll love!
A pretty village in Saintonge Romane
A member of the ‘Village de pierres et d’eau’ network, Saint-Savinien-sur-Charente is one of the outstanding heritage sites in the Saintonge Romane area. Famous for its riverside houses built along the River Charente, the village is a perfect place for peaceful strolls, from its flower-bedecked riverbanks to the houses built into the cliffs on the rue du Chail.
A walk along the quays
Back in the 18th century, Saint-Savinien-sur-Charente was a very famous trading port from which merchandise like wine, brandy, wood and cut stone were transported. Today, the port of Saint-Savinien is a favourite stop for pleasure boaters.
Walk along the Quai Claude Quessot and you’ll see boats moored alongside floating landing stages and pretty orange-roofed houses built from limestone. Several picnic areas on the banks offer lovely views of the River Charente.
Wander around the cliff-top old town
It’s well worth climbing the winding streets of the old town behind the quays! They’ll eventually lead you to the 13th century church with its impressive bell tower, the covered market and the market square, as well as the old Augustinian convent. Elsewhere in the village, don’t miss the château de la Cave, a 16th century fortified manor house.
In the upper village there are a number of houses that are partly carved into the rock. This was how quarry workers in the Gallo-Roman period used to live. The cliffs in the “Chail” district (along rue du Chail) have long played host to stone quarries that have been intricately bound up with the bustling river port below.
Family fun on the île de la Grenouillette
In the middle of the Charente River lies the île de la Grenouillette, an outdoor activities centre in a nice, well-shaded spot. There’s a variety of fun, family-friendly activities. The nearby water sports centre offers adults the chance to get out onto the river itself.
Sail small-scale replicas at the miniature port
An artificial lake and a small river specially designed for boating enables children and adults to take a trip on a miniature boat. A fleet of 18 mini vessels (scale models of trawlers, cargos ships, Mississippi steam-boats…) plies its trade against an unusual backdrop with a Chinese-style bridge, a Japanese foot-bridge and a suspension bridge that’s a replica of San Francisco’s Golden Gate.
Have fun on the fairground attractions island at Saint-Savinien
In the centre of the île de la Grenouillette, there are several old fairground rides which are sure to delight the kids! They include a ‘top racing driver’-themed 1900-vintage merry-go-round, swings from the 1920s and a pedal car racing track. Beside the main channel, an outdoor inflatable play park promises even more fun, with giant slides and well-shaded play areas for very young children.
Hire an electric boat or a pedalo
At Saint-Savinien’s water sports centre, located between the Charente and the man-made channel that was created to ease river traffic along this loop of the Charente, you can rent out various kinds of vessels: electric or motor-boats (no boating licence required), pedalos and canoes. Boats are rented by the hour or the day and offer a great opportunity to enjoy a relaxing trip along the Charente River, taking in the wonderful countryside as you go.
Meeting local artists and craftspeople
Recently classed as a ‘Ville et Métiers d’Art’(a town with a thriving arts and crafts scene), the village of Saint-Savinien-sur-Charente has, over the last few years, developed into a real hub for artists and creatives. The arrival of numerous craftspeople has led the local council to develop venues and exhibition spaces where they can showcase their skills.
Exploring local studios and art galleries
Right in the heart of the village you’ll find galleries and studios belonging to local professional artists and craftspeople including stone sculptors, cutlery-makers, painters, wood-turners and metal-workers. Shop window displays that are changed each month are another draw in the town centre.
See the arts hub, a venue devoted to arts and crafts
A hub dedicated to the arts and crafts managed by the artists’ collective Cargo Bleu possesses two large exhibition areas/salesrooms. Three studios are used by artists working on-site – an opportunity for the public to gain an insight into their know-how and skills.